Voters OK’d Legal Aid for Tenants Facing Eviction — Now Comes the Hard Part

San Francisco has until July 2019 to set up multimillion-dollar program under Proposition F.

News Story (California)

Andrew Stelzer
San Francisco Public Press
August 27, 2018

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC)


San Francisco’s program is historic in that there will be no income limits, an acknowledgment that “middle-class tenants can’t afford lawyers either,” said Dean Preston, the chief proponent of the ballot measure. Thus, it will cover all of the city’s roughly 225,000 rental units, including the estimated 172,000 covered under rent control.

Preston, an attorney and executive director of the statewide advocacy group Tenants Together, calls Proposition F a change from a “merit-based” to a “rights-based” model. Until now, a limited number of pro-bono attorneys has had to pick and choose which clients to represent. “We shouldn’t be deciding who does and doesn’t get an attorney based on how strong we think their case is,” said Preston. “Everyone should have representation.”